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Raspberry Pi Smart TV: Plasma Bigscreen Project Offers Open-Source UI

(Image credit: Said Marroun/Shutterstock)

With many people stuck at home (opens in new tab), the desire for an at-home media center is greater than ever. But what if you could add an open-source user interface (UI), or ditch the one built into your TV, with the help of Raspberry Pi? With Plasma Bigscreen, a new AI voice and KDE open-source development released this week, it's possible to use your Raspberry Pi 4 as a center of your media hub. 

"Plasma Bigscreen powers the interface on a single-board computer and uses the Mycroft AI voice assistant to provide a smart TV platform," it says on KDE.org (opens in new tab). "Plasma Bigscreen will deliver not only media-rich applications, but also traditional desktop applications redesigned to fit the Bigscreen experience.

Plasma Bigscreen is described as a free open-source UI experience for big-screen TVs. The Pi version is still in its  beta stage, so expect a few bugs as well as improvements along the way. The UI is catered specifically to a TV experience—it even supports remote control operation. To make things a little more modern, you can also use voice controls to navigate.

The Plasma Bigscreen image is easily flashed onto a microSD card like most other Pi operating systems. It uses Wi-Fi to update and download content for streaming. 

Plasma Bigscreen also supports major streaming apps, which the OS calls "skills." This includes YouTube and Netflix. In addition to streaming, it can play a variety of compatible games and even functions as a web browser.

If you're interested in checking out Plasma Bigscreen, now is a good time. As of this week, you can download the beta image (opens in new tab) and flash it to a fresh SD card for your Pi 4. For more details and updates on Plasma Bigscreen, check out the project's official website (opens in new tab)

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.

  • Umfriend
    Does it do Netflix well (and easily)?
    Reply
  • Rookie_MIB
    And, just as importantly, can it work with a PI2/3? I have several of those lying around doing not a whole lot of anything.
    Reply